This Sunday, Turkmenistan celebrated a rather specific national holiday — the Day of the Turkmen Melon.
Festivities took place in towns and villages throughout the country, although perhaps the grandest celebration was held at the capital Ashgabat’s equestrian complex, which included a huge exhibition of agricultural products, a cultural programme featuring hordes of national dancers, and a suspenseful melon-growers’ contest. The very best were awarded prizes on behalf of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
The Turkmen melon, a crossbreed muskmelon, is seemingly very worthy of celebration. In newspapers former president Saparmurat Niyazov has been quoted as saying, “The Turkmen melon is the source of our pride. Its taste has no equals in the world, the smell makes your head spin.”